Questions, please!

As you folks know, the Saab Owners Convention is coming up in a few days, and all the Saab hierarchy will be there.

What you may not know right now, however, is that straight after the convention, there’s going to be a press event for the launch of the 2008 Saab 9-3 in the US.

Due to the high standard he set whilst reporting on the 60th Anniversary event in San Diego back in February, Saab themselves offered 1985Gripen a spot at this event to report on behalf of Trollhattan Saab. They actually invited him some time ago but initiated Maxwell Smart’s cone of silence, probably so I wouldn’t report that it was happening – sneaky little so-and-so’s.

So, Gripen will be driving the new Saab 9-3 and will have a chance to rub shoulders with the best and brightest there, which means that YOU have a chance to have some input as to some of the questions he asks while he’s there.

Things that are already on his list:

    – Availability of Bose Surround Sound System (when?)
    – Availability of Bluetooth in the U.S. in relation to OnStar
    – Availability of diesel in the States (though I already know the answer to this so I might not ask about it)
    – I also want clarification (timeframe) on when we can expect to be able to purchase BioPower models here in the States.

The Saab people Gripen will have access to between the SOC and the drive event will include the following:

    Steve Shannon – President of SAAB USA
    Fritz Henderson – Vice-Chairman and Chief Financial Officer, General Motors
    Knut Simonsson – Director SAAB Brand and Global Sales Operations
    John Libbos – SAAB 9-3 and 9-5 Product Manager – Saab USA

Comments are open!

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  1. You can count on diesel in states in two years.
    Bose is already in 2007 models with audio package.
    Bluetooth and onstar was,is and will be screwed.
    I supposed to be in Trollhattan month ago as a SAAB reward and I couldn’t go for familly reason but my boss went for dealer conference three weeks ago. He told me,Jacek you just wait till you see new 9-5……..WOW.

  2. congrats, 1985Gripen!

    of the turbo x’s to be built, maybe they can divulge how many, of the 2,000, will be wagons and how many will be sedans.

  3. Thanks for the question, saab9x. I’ll add it to my list of questions.

    Talonderiel: I intend to! Thanks for the well-wishes.

    I hope someone else at the S.O.C. will have a digital camcorder as I don’t own one so I won’t be able to tape the keynote speech by Fritz Henderson that Swade would like a copy of. Is anyone here planning on going to S.O.C. and owns a digital camcorder so they could upload the video to YouTube?

  4. Gripen, please ask what the status is on the 9-5? When will we see it? What are its characteristics etc? Glad you are going, and are the ventilated seats going to be available in the 9-3 or the 9-5 only. Thanks Saabboy1

  5. SG: I’m sure Swade doesn’t need to pay anything for video footage, as that would be the purpose of posting it on YouTube, so that it’s free for all. I assume you were only joking, but I didn’t see a smiley, so that’s why I have to ask.

    Keep the suggestions coming, everyone. I’ll be sure to make notes from comments at this post before I leave for Detroit.

  6. question 1. can you give us details, ANY, on the 9-1?
    question 2. Any chance for a more potent version of the Black Turbo for ’09?

  7. Ryan, if someone’s there with a video camera and can tape it for the benefit of everyone, all well and good. If not, then so be it. It’d be a shame, but I’m sure someone passing on the salient points of Fritz’s presentation via text will get the message across OK if that’s what it comes down to.

    A question for Gripen from me: What’s next for Saab USA? BFJ has been going for a few years now and it’s made its impact, but there’s a new model and therefore a new need for a renewed effort. Is BFJ still going to be at the center of that effort and what new things can we expect from Saab USA to reach that 40,000 sales mark and beyond as the new models arrive in the next few years?

    AND – why is the Turbo-X limited to 280hp? It’s still going to be a brilliant car, but for marketing purposes alone the progression to that 300 figure seems to make sense.

  8. If this is strictly about the 9-3 launch, then skip my suggestions, but…

    Plug-in hybrid. When, when when????
    Any plans change the European delivery option?
    Plans to expand the Saab dealer network?

    What work has been done to improve reliability of the new 9-3 over the old model?

    How will you use the press (MT, C&D, Consumer Reports, etc.) to improve sales of the 9-3 in the US?

  9. 1.) Will the introduction of the XWD system see Saab re-entering the rally circuit or any racing, even if it’s just an official sponsorship?

    2.) What is the future of Saab dealer networks in USA? With a re-designed 9-3, the Aero 9-7X, the new gen 9-3s/9-5s, and 2 new models all in the pipeline, is there going to be a proverbial “beefing up” of the dealer network, similar to what Saturn say during it’s revitalization, within the next couple years?

    3.) (On the Global Front) Is GME pushing for the Turbo-X or the 9-3 Aero to make an appearance on Top Gear?? I believe, from what Swade has said, that it will be the car to prove to Jeremy why Saabisti have “that” smile on their face.

    this final question is a little more personal and may not benefit all in the community… sorry 😛

    4.) Is there anyway that I could get the Saab Performance Driving Team at my college’s bi-annual Air Show in Daytona Beach?? After the show on Daytona International’s 3 runways, the PDT could always cross the tarmac and do some laps at the legendary Daytona 500 track!!

    ~ I go to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL. Saab has always had a stand at our air shows and the performance team would be a billion times better then a jet dragster that our Aeronautical Engineers built and raced…. Out of close to 2,000 students in pilot training, only 15 (soon to be 16.. Feb doesn’t come fast enough!!) drive Saabs; So, there is a definite selling point in coming… Besides me wanting to see the PDT 😛

  10. Jacek –
    There is a Bose option in the 2008 according to the booklet, it’s the Bose Centerpoint option that says it will not arrive until late in the 2008 production year.

  11. yeah, bose surround sound will be availiable later in the model year, i guess it will be availiable when the xwd drops.

    Please ask if they will bring any stronger engine than the 280 hp in this 9-3 generation before the new 9-3 comes in in 2010.

  12. I’m bringing an old digital video camera to the convention – I’ll see what I can do. The battery only lasts about 15 minutes – maybe I can find an electrical outlet somewhere.

    Although I expect that the guy (Ryan is his name IIRC) will do some taping. I believe he videotaped the Sunday roundtable with Jay Spenchian last year.

  13. Gripen , it would be great if you could ask about what sort of power plant we’ll be seeing in the next gen 9-5, inline 4’s, v-6’s ect…

  14. something noone mentioned yet.

    Will you pick me up so we can go together?! Lol jp 😀 I dont live in socal anymore…

    Mr, Gripen.

    HIRSCH in the USA?!

  15. Colin —

    In the Washington, DC region, we are being told mid- to late-September for the first shipments of the MY 2008 9-3s without XWD.

  16. Definitely want to know when a diesel will be available in the USA. That is going to become a key selling point in a few years.

    One other question I have not seen addressed here is when (is GM) going to switch the 2.0L and 2.8L over to (gasoline) direct injection? If you want to get 300hp out of that V6 without a penalty in cold start emissions and fuel economy there is your answer. Of course that will probably include a switch to variable valve timing on the exhaust camshaft as well, but it would be an impressive upgrade now that the have the ability to put the power on the ground.

    On a personal note, I am kind of relieved that did not do it for 2008… I would have felt robbed.

  17. I agree with Saaboy – When will we see Hirsch in the USA? Why don’t we have it now?

    second, although it will already be asked, but maybe a different approach:

    “Can you explain Saab’s decision NOT to include bluetooth in the US when competitors have been offering it for years, and the technology does fit into their demographic? Is the promotion on OnStar worth the loss of potential customers?”

  18. SG

    I apologize if I can’t put the name to the face. I am fantastic at remembering faces, but terrible with names.

    I’m sure I’ll see you again at Troy, and go “Oh, yes, you’re the guy.” And I’ll remember everything from last year. Except your name.

    It’s a terrible affliction for someone as deeply involved in politics as I am.

  19. Thanks, Gryphon. I’m trying to figure out the optimal timing for a 9-3 purchase– and whether to wait for the ’08 or spring for an ’07 with current incentives.

  20. I haven’t seen this question yet…

    Are they going to change/increase their paint color palette for the MY2008 9-3 SS/Combi and/or maybe offer different/better/exclusive colors for the XWD models?

    Thanks & enjoy!

  21. Just revisisted teh colour palette – there is some scope for new colours isn’t there? Some of these have been around for ages and the range is very narrow cf competitors. Also, when did anyone last orde a new Lonear trim without spending teh extra for decent wheels? The plastic caps they put on the Linear are just embarrassingly poor, worse even that BMW’s basic trim. Come on Saab, spend a couple of £££ and let these vehicles leave the factory with some pride!

  22. eggs: I’m taking notes at the last minute here of the questions people want asked. I’m taking an early flight tomorrow morning from LAX to Detroit for the S.O.C. Can you clarify for me in comment #12 when you ask about the “new” 9³ versus the “old” one, are you referring to the ’08 versus the ’07 or are you referring to the Epsilon2-based one to be manufactured in Germany starting around 2010? I guess the question’s relevant either way…

    Thanks to all for all the great suggestions. Unfortunately none of this will likely surprise the people I query as I’ve learned today via the phone from my contact at SAAB USA that he already read this post so he knows what questions I’m going to come armed with. Oh, well. It’ll give them time to formulate answers. 🙂

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